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Study: Reproductive restrictions damage working women, state economies

By Roz Brown

Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas – Access to birth control has been responsible for one third of women’s wage gains since the 1960s, and restrictions on reproductive health could reverse those gains, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
The group has launched a new tool to assess the financial impacts of state-level reproductive health restrictions.
Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said restricting access to comprehensive reproductive health care not only costs individual women wages, but can be expensive for state economies.
“We know at the national level,” said Johnson, “the state-level abortion restrictions cost $105 billion per year by reducing labor-force participation and earnings.”
Data from the new online tool shows that if all state-level abortion restrictions were eliminated, more than a half million women would enter the workforce. The estimated earnings increase for working women in Texas would be more than $14 billion.
More than 500 bills restricting or banning abortion have been introduced across 46 states so far this year.
In Lubbock, Texas, earlier this week, a federal district judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood to block a voter-approved abortion ban from taking effect. The ordinance was passed by voters in May, after the City Council there said it conflicted with state law and could be costly to defend.
Johnson said laws being implemented primarily in GOP-led states are not what voters say they want.
“All of this is happening against the majority of public opinion,” said Johnson. “In every single state – not just national public opinion, but literally every single state – a majority of Americans believe that Roe should be the law of the land.”
On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments challenging a Mississippi law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks.
It’s a case Johnson said strikes at the heart of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal. She said a ruling upholding the Mississippi law would put the reproductive rights of 25 million women at risk in states where abortions could be banned.